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Showing posts from December, 2006

Everything You Need to Know About the Blues...

A friend posted this on her blog, and I've got to pass it along. Thanks, Barbara!

How to Sing the Blues

If you are new to Blues music, or like it but never really understood the why and wherefores, here are some very fundamental rules:

1. Most Blues begin with: "Woke up this morning..."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes - sort of:
"Got a good woman with the meanest face in town.
Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town.
Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice.
You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch...ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars:
Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks.
Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles.
Most B…

Christmas Eve sermon--Final

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This is pretty much what I will be preaching this afternoon. It's in manuscript form and I'll be turning it into an outline, but here it is. Thanks to RevGalBlogPals for encouragement and goodies along the way!
Luke 1Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! "But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? "For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the L…

Christmas Eve sermon--Draft 1

Well, this is something I've never done before and am a bit nervous about, but here goes--this is the first draft of my sermon for tomorrow afternoon. I will be reworking it tonight and probably cutting it back to an outline of some sort.Comments and suggestions welcome!
Will you pray with me? God of light, God of love, be present with us now as we prepare to receive you into our hearts. May our spirits receive you with joy. Amen.I don’t have to tell you that today is Christmas Eve. But actually, we’re not celebrating Christmas Eve this afternoon—that will come tonight at the 11 pm service. That’s because today is also the fourth Sunday of Advent, and we celebrate that first—and then Christmas Eve in the evening.You see, just like in our scripture reading, Jesus isn’t here yet! Mary is praising God and all the things God will do—God will do, soon. But not yet. Mary is still journeying this afternoon, still on her way to that stable.And I have to wonder—what is she thinking, this fi…

123:5 Meme

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Here's a new one, and I'm procrastinating on the sermon, so...
Through HipPastorzWife2B through Mary Beth from Songbird , as seen at The Vicar of Hogsmeade. The rules are:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!Dorothy Dunnett, King Hereafter“And so he went to the top bench, where Thorfinn also was signalling him over, and where he sat down, as indicated, between an abbot from Devon and a bishop from Brittany. Thorfinn said, ‘I am not your brave sort of man who would enter into a marriage alliance without informing King Canute’s Queen, the Lady Emma. When she is in her dower town of Exeter, there is no one she leans on more than my lord Abbot Ealdred here, who rules Tavistock and all the trading ships moving …

Friday Christmas Foodie Five!! Yum!

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The Friday Five from the RevGalBlogPals...time to eat!

NOTE: To Singing Owl--no, this is not my family. It's a nice photo, evocative of a certain time of year and of the previous century. Just to be clear about this.
1. Favourite cookie/candy/baked good without which, it's just not Christmas.Now that is a tough one…my mother and I were just talking about Christmas baking the other day, and all the different recipes we used to make—cherry blinks, spritzen, lebkuchen, gingersnaps, candy canes, stockings (the latter two variations on sugar cookies), macaroons, and rum balls. I think I’d have to go with sugar cookies, Mexican wedding cakes or cream wafers. Recipes for the second two below.

2. Do you do a fancy dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, both, or neither? (Optional: with whom will you gather around the table this year?)
I’m still in the process of re-creating a holiday tradition—between pastoring and a divorce, I haven’t done the same thing two years in a row for about fiv…

For the Doubters Out There...

Just in case any of you doubted me a while ago, here's the S'mores Nativity Set!

Hurry, supplies are limited!

Order now and we'll add FREE fiberoptics!

Added Thursday December 21: I just now actually scrolled down to the post with the S'mores, and I had actually posted a picture already. That's what I get for laziness. On the other hand, in the current post (i.e., this one), you get a link THAT WORKED, BLOGGER, FOILED YOU THIS TIME! and a whole bunch of even odder nativity sets.

I want the timer.

A Christmas at the Movies...

The RevGalBlogPals Midwinter Meme is on Christmas movies. I haven’t really been one for the holiday theme in movies, but I’ll take a stab at this…1) It's a Wonderful Life--Is it? Do you remember seeing it for the first time?
I don’t remember the first time I saw this movie, it’s been a part of my holidays for so long. I used to gather with relatives for Chinese food and It’s a Wonderful Life sometime in December—usually about this time, the last weekend or so before Christmas. It gave us a chance to get together without all the Christmas Eve/Day craziness, and yet be part of our Christmas. And Chinese food meant no one had to cook!2) Miracle on 34th Street--old version or new?
Never seen either one. Sorry…3) Do you have a favorite incarnation of Mr. Scrooge?
Alistair Sims, bar none. He IS Scrooge. Unless it’s my Dickens prof from undergraduate days, who read A Christmas Carol, in costume, every year to the assembled masses the night before fall (i.e. December) finals began.4) Why sho…

Procrastinating or Priming the Pump While Trying to Get the Sermon Written?

I was just looking at my newly redesigned blog (I upgraded to Beta Blogger, added a bunch of links, rearranged some things), and read my post from Monday. Yikes! How could I have fallen so far, so fast? I had said I wanted to do a little bit on things every day so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I actually did that until Wednesday, when everything fell apart. Don’t ask me why—I was in the office all day, got lots of paperwork and other needed things done (worship planning for January, meeting with host church pastor about our joint Christmas Eve service, not to mention various correspondence). I tried to work on the sermon several times, but then I would realize that I hadn’t done X, which had to be done that day (deadline) or I needed to check on Y, since I was in the office. Etc. You know how it goes—someone calls, someone stops in, you realize you’re running out of time on something else…and the sermon gets put aside. And yet, the sermon and worship are two of the most important thin…

Christmas Songs of Advents Past…

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The post title doesn't really fit what I ended up writing, but I like it so much I'm keeping it anyway...

My usual Friday Five from the RevGalBlogPals… This week we’re talking Christmas music!1. A favourite 'secular' Christmas song.
This one is actually difficult—most of my favourites are “sacred”—or at least semi-sacred, in that they actually talk about Jesus and angels instead of holly and presents and eggnog. Hmmm..."It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," for its evocation of New York City, and "White Christmas," just 'cause.

2. Christmas song that chokes you up (maybe even in spite of yourself--the cheesier the better).
“Mary, Did You Know?” and “Little Drummer Boy”—both of them in spite of myself,cause I think I cry too easily. And that drummer boy--cheese, indeed.

3. Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire.
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” with “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer…

Procrastination, Thy Name is Pastor!

Monday! Yay!

I am going to be doing my best to take today off. I managed to put in more than 40 hours last week (theoretically, I’m part-time, at 20 hours a week). So I slept in, read my email in a leisurely fashion, browsed through some blogs, took the trivia quiz, and had a lazy breakfast, including finishing a book I want to give my mother. I’ve started the laundry, too.

According to the church musician, who also plays for a local Presbyterian church, this is the year of the Sabbath (at least for Canadian Presbyterians; the rest of us may be out of luck). Well, darn it, I’m going to do my best to take part in this whole Sabbath thing! That’s taking a day to rest, right?

Can someone explain that to me?

I’m sure trying it today. Oh, I’m not totally ignoring the church—this time of year there’s too much going on, between Advent and Christmas preparations, our congregation’s annual meeting (yesterday and it went well, thank you), and preparing for next year (yes, I really am still worki…

World AIDS Day

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Today is the observance of World AIDS Day. We’ve been observing this day for so long, I don’t know what to say that I haven’t said fifty times before.I could talk about my many friends and colleagues who are HIV+ or who have sero-converted and have full-blown AIDS. I could talk about my friends who work in AIDS clinics and other AIDS organizations, supporting people who are HIV+ or living with AIDS (PWAs). I could talk about the effects of HIV/AIDS around the world, how it devastates communities, regions, and nations, leaving a younger generation to fend for themselves. I could talk about how the highest increase in rate of infection is among black women. I could take on the whole controversy about the “down low” or the one on abstinence education.Or I could put a cheerier face on it, and talk about the medications developed in recent years, that make it possible to really live with AIDS. I could mention the many agencies that have been created specifically for PWAs. I could say tha…

Friday Meme Time…

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It’s Friday, and you know what means (at least you do if you’ve been in RP-land on a Friday or two)—Meme Time! This week, honouring the first Sunday of Advent, it’s an Advent meme from the RevGalBlogPals.Here we go:1) Do you observe Advent in your church?
Oh, yes. We have to do a lot of explaining, because many people come from a tradition that didn’t celebrate Advent so much, or didn’t use Advent wreaths. But most people seem to like it, especially the young ones! For me, it's a way to stave off Christmas until Christmas. Advent is an important season of the church year all on its own, darn it!
2) How about at home?
When I was growing up, we did—greens from the cedar bushes out front, candles in the star-shaped crystal holders, all on a round tray—and when I lived in Germany, the florists and gift shops had gorgeous ones, with crystals and pearl beads and bows and ribbons—all quite flammable, I’m sure. So of course I had to have one every year. More recently, life hasn’t been org…